National Enquirer Parent Company Admits Paying Off Karen McDougal to Help Trump in 2016

Deal with U.S. Attorney’s office includes cooperation with prosecutors

David Pecker
Getty Images

The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., was given immunity by federal prosecutors in connection with the $150,000 hush-money payment the tabloid gave to Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal in order to keep her from talking about her relationship with Donald Trump.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said the payment, which was made to McDougal right before the 2016 presidential election, was done “to influence” the election.

“Assuming AMI’s continued compliance with the agreement, the Office has agreed not to prosecute AMI for its role in that payment,” the SDNY said in a statement.

In return, AMI has agreed to improve “its internal compliance to prevent future violations of the federal campaign finance laws.” The improvements include “distributing written standards regarding federal election laws to its employees and conducting annual training concerning these standards.”

As a part of the agreement, prosecutors say, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment “in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign,” to “ensure that McDougal did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.”

AMI also copped to making the payment in order to “suppress” McDougal’s story for the specific purpose of influencing the election.

The agreement was announced by the SDNY shortly after Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison.

In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that AMI Chairman David Pecker was granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of the probe into Cohen.

AMI declined to comment.